Regulator for transport sector likely

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New Delhi, Mar 2 (UNI) A high-powered expert committee on road safety in India has made a strong case for an independent regulator for the transport sector, on the pattern of the telecom and power sectors, and adoption of a National Road Safety Policy to effectively deal with the scourge of spiralling road accidents.

The recommendations of the S Sundar Committee have found ready acceptance from various stakeholders, said an official from the Road Transport and Highways Ministry .

The official, however, pointed out that the Ministry is yet to take a decision on an independent regulator for the transport sector.

''We will take a decision after taking stock of views of all the stakeholders in the transport sector. Anyway, it will require a constitutional amendment,'' he pointed out.

The Ministry, which is apparently in favour of a regulator, has advanced the rationale that such a mechanism would be imperative for dealing with issues of inter-state disputes and fixing the standards of service and fare structure by inviting bids.

The committee has also hammered out a draft legislation providing for a regulator and a slew of safety measures, including setting up a National Road Safety and Traffic Management Board and State Road Safety Boards to deal with the menace of burgeoning road accidents.

The official also hinted at the possibility of introduction of a Bill on road safety in the ongoing Budget Session of Parliament.

With regard to the committee's suggestion on certain issues, including need to prevent overloading of commercial vehicles and introduction of smart cards for licensing, he said there was a consesnus of approach.

''These measures can be adopted straightaway since these will not require any amendment in laws,'' he added.

The committee has also suggested setting up of a National Road Safety Fund with a minimum one per cent of the revenue from the cess on diesel and gasoline allocated for national highways and the railways to be credited to the Fund.

If implemented, the proposed National Road Safety Board would get Rs 85 crore and state boards Rs 35 crore annually from the oil cess.

The key objectives of the proposed National Road Safety Policy, as recommended by the committee, include eatablishing a road safety information database, ensuring safer road infrastructure by way of designing safer roads, strengthening the system of issuing driving licenses and taking appropriate measures for enforcement of safety laws.


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